Whatever my lot…

1 Comment » Written on March 9th, 2012     
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Today’s post is written by Geoff Twigg, Adjunct Professor at North Park University in Chicago. Geoff is a pastor, singer/songwriter, worship leader and ministry consultant, and serves the ECC as a member of the denomination’s Commission on Worship.

It’s feeling like spring here in Chicago; and that’s not just because we put the clocks forward this weekend… one or two days this week, the temperatures have been up in the 60s!

A little more sinister, however, is the severe lack of winter weather we’ve had over the last four or five months. My wife and I are new residents in Chicago, having moved here in the Fall, but we’ve been here in winter months before; notably for Midwinter 2011, when we witnessed around 19″ of snow in one particular storm, and only left the O’Hare Hilton once in the whole week. Furthermore, whenever anyone heard that we were moving here, we were sternly warned about the severity of the weather. Oddly enough, most of these ‘prophets of doom’ lived around our previous domicile in New Hampshire, yet they considered our move to Illinois to be a backward step into a frosty clime.

Vicki and I are English, and I could never get over the fact that the UK sits on the same latitude as Siberia, known for its extreme cold. Palm Trees grow on England’s south-western shores, as a result of balmy breezes and warm water flows from the Atlantic.

I can hear you asking: apart from the fact that the English babble on about the weather when they have nothing else to say, why is Twigg discussing the temperature in a blog that’s supposed to be about worship? Hang on for another sentence or two, and all will be made clear.

People are saying that there are more coughs, colds and flu around this year… and they are connecting that to the mild weather we’ve had. Cold weather, they say, discourages (maybe even kills off) germs that cause our illnesses. You may have heard something similar; some version of the idea that walking around in inclement weather, exposing yourself to the elements to some limited extent, is actually good for you.

I was standing outside on a largely deserted sports complex this morning, sheepishly wearing sunglasses on a bright and breezy day with warmer temperatures promised tomorrow; and the idea hit me. It may be a chill wind, but I think it’s doing me some good. At the very least, I’ll appreciate the higher temperatures on saturday and sunday. More than that, I need these seasons, need their variety and distinct character.

And the same is true in our worship lives. (See, I finally got to the point). I need the changing seasons of worship, the Lent and the Easter, the joy but also the lament, the exuberant and the sober; and the quiet patience of a litany helps just as much as the gratifying punchline of a salvation testimony. I’m not belittling anyone or any act of worship – I just want it to be real; and ‘real’ means not always good, satisfying or ‘to my taste’. I need the blues and the ballad, the spiritual and the symphony, the dance and the depth of hymnody. I would never suggest that variety is a complete solution to all our ills – but facing and expressing the vagaries of life, with all its vast diversities, reminds me of the faithfulness of God.

When peace like a river attendeth my way, when troubles like sea-billows roll; whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say, “It is well, it is well with my soul.”

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One Response to “Whatever my lot…”

Brilliant stuff Geoff. True indeed. And true here in Germany at the moment as well :). Diversity is a gift. How sad we on occasion shrink away from it in worship! -Glenn

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